Congress and White House Agree on Six Month FY2013 Continuing Resolution
The House, Senate and White House agreed today that they will enact a 6-month Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government operating from October 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.
A CR is necessary because the 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2013 have not cleared Congress. The House has passed seven, but the Senate has not passed any. The House and Senate both will begin a 5-week recess on Friday and will not return until September 10, after the Republican and Democratic conventions in late August and early September. That will leave little time for work to be completed on the regular appropriations bills before FY2013 begins on October 1.
In a rare sign of unity, all agreed today on avoiding the brinkmanship that has characterized much of Washington politics in the past year and a half. The CR itself is not scheduled to be brought to the floor of either the House or Senate until September, but by announcing their agreement now, agencies can better plan on what their spending levels will be for the first half of FY2013. The agreement is to fund the government at $1.047 billion, the level agreed upon in last year's Budget Control Act.
Some members of the appropriations committees reportedly are unhappy with the agreement because they wanted a shorter term CR and passage of the bills that they have been carefully crafting for the past several months. Some conservatives apparently are unhappy that funding will be at the $1.047 trillion level instead of the $1.028 trillion they voted for earlier this year. However, the Republican and Democratic leadership on both sides of Capitol Hill agreed that this is the best course of action and must believe they have the votes to pass the bill.
This deal does nothing to avoid the sequester that looms on January 2, 2013, but the spirit of compromise evidenced today may bode well for resolving that issue as well.
Editor's note: The statements from House Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid clearly state that it is a 6-month CR. Curiously, the White House statement says it will fund the government "for the first quarter" of FY2013, which is only 3 months. We are inquring as to the reason for the discrepancy, but every news account we have perused says it is a 6-month CR.
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